Rules of thumb to plan integration timeline and costs

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    What rules of thumb do you employ early on when reviewing a potential target to obtain a preliminary, high-level estimate of the time and cost involved in integrating the target?

    Erin Gray

    We look closely at the synergies between them and our company to determine if their structure and data would be adaptable to our systems and core processes. We currently acquire smaller companies as a means to expand market share in new regions so it is very important to have overarching synergies with our business practices.


    When it comes to timing – look into the 3 last large-scale internal change initiatives, and multiply the time spent x2.


    Not easy to provide a simple answer, and not sure your question is about the M&A process or the PMI one.
    But if (so many ifs):
    – the size of the acquired company is small (less than 1000 employees?)
    – it has only one main facility in a country where the acquiring company is already present (meaning a single country known regulation)
    – the business is similar or comparable between the 2 companies
    – the scope of the integration covers activities from the main value chain and support functions
    – you have a decent dedicated integration team and integration capabilities like data migration, infrastructure, collaboration tools…
    – probably others…
    The minimum timeline I can think of is between 12 and 18 months as you need to give enough space for the communication and change to happen – not only for employees, but as well for leadership, customers, vendors, authorities and other external partners…


    Managing project integration is complex in itself. In my experience, developing a strong communication plan and ensuring everyone is on the same page from the start. It’s like creating a road map that everyone can follow.
    To implement the project smoothly, I used a detailed guide to project integration management with which I broke the process into practical steps and was able to implement practical ideas . Also, the step-by-step approach helped us optimize processes, and real-time data analysis allowed us to make informed decisions on the fly.

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